Launching the Video as Evidence Guide: U.S. Immigration

WITNESS is excited to release our newest resource for supporting immigrant rights: “Video as Evidence: U.S. Immigration“. This in-depth guide is for both immigration attorneys and community members looking to utilize eyewitness video as evidence in legal cases.  Video can be a powerful and visceral tool for defending the rights of individuals in immigration legal proceedings, but it’s not always clear how to use video for evidentiary purposes or how to film in a way that is most likely to support such proceedings. This Guide aims to help attorneys introduce video evidence that will pass legal muster in a removal hearing and support their clients,  as well as help advocates and community members safely, ethically and effectively document encounters with immigration enforcement. 

Inside the Guide you’ll find in-depth research and examples, practical tips and guidance, case studies and exercises.  And this Q&A blog post with WITNESS’ U.S. Immigration Legal Fellow and author of the Guide, Leila Shifteh, offers more about what the Guide is and who it’s for. 

Download the full guide here. You can also access just the Legal section here, or just the Filming section here. 

And join our Facebook Live conversation to learn more about using video as evidence in immigration legal proceedings on December 8th 2pmEST to hear from Leila Shifteh,  author of the guide,  Michelle Quintero, senior attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services’s New York Immigration Family Unit Project , and Benjamin Prado, long time community filmer with American Friends Service Committee San Diego. For Spanish interpretation you’ll need to register on zoom

This resource was a true labor of love, time, and passion for the potential of community filmers and lawyers to better work together in order to support immigrant rights. We extend our deepest gratitude to the following individuals and organizations. The knowledge you shared with us and your feedback have been invaluable: 

Yasmine Chahkar Farhang, Richard Bailey, Genia Blaser, Golnaz Fakhimi, Eva Bitran, Jodi Ziesemer, Andrew Wachtenheim, Yasmin Sokkar Harker, Ellen Pachnanda, Meghan McCarthy, Sarah Deri Oshiro, Mitra Ebadolahi, Liz Kenney, Adriana Piñon, Alexandra Smith, Margaret Garrett, Sarika Saxena, Brooklyn Defender Services, Immigrant Defense Project, the creative brilliance and guidance of the WITNESS U.S. Program team, Palika Makam & Jackie Zammuto, and the tremendous vision of Kelly Matheson of WITNESS, who conceived of the original Video as Evidence guide for the international human rights legal context! It takes a village.

We would also like to thank Brooklyn Defender Services, the American Civil Liberties Union, Media Tank, and Variant Strategies for so generously giving us permission to use beautiful stills from their powerful animated video series, We Have Rights. And Gregory Buissereth for the stunning illustrations.

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